With spring just around the corner, it's time to pack away the cold weather gear and to welcome in long sunny days and nature in full bloom. Australia's springtime calendar teems with festivals and events, and what better way to enjoy the season than by heading outdoors! Wherever you are, spring offers urban and rural art, music, gardening, food and sporting events to whet any appetite.
Celebrations of the season
See our capital city come alive with one million spring blooms at Floriade, the nation's biggest flower festival. Held at the Commonwealth Park in Canberra, this year will be the show's 25th anniversary and will be kicking off for a month on the 15th Septemberi. With garden displays, demonstrations, workshops, musical entertainment, and kid's activities, the festival guarantees fun for allii. Between the 26th and 30th September, the festival is open at night tooiii, transforming the gardens into an illuminated nocturnal wonderland.
Other regions of Australia host flower festivals that are less well-known but equally stunning. Waratah-Wynyard in Tasmania will be showcasing the Bloomin' Tulips Festival and Perth, WA will be hosting the annual Kings Park Festival throughout September and into the first week of Octoberiv.
Music and art festivals
A Day on the Green is an ideal choice for those in search for good food, fine wine and great music in magnificent locations. This nationwide outdoor concert festival is hosted at various locations in major wine-growing regions of Australia and runs from October to March. This year will be the festival's 12th. Acts from previous years have included Crowded House, INXS, Cold Chisel, Kasey Chambers, Josh Pyke, Washington and more. For more information on venues and this year's A Day at the Green line up can be found on the festivals Web site.
Country music fans looking for a caravan or camping experience should look into the Munna Creek Country Music Festival. The festival, held in the regional town of Munna Creek, Queensland, promises an assortment of home-style food in addition to great country music.
Our major cities also play host to spring festivities. The 2012 Brisbane Festival will run from the 8-29 September, while the Sydney Fringe art festival is on 7-30 September. Melbourne Festival takes place the following month (11-27 October) and this festival showcases music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film and more from upcoming Australian and International companies and artistsv.
Between September and November, spring food festivals dominate any foodie's calendar. This year at the Royal Melbourne Show, visitors will be able to experience the new Tastes of Victoria Pavilion, celebrating the best of Victoria's local and seasonal producevi. Queensland's Australian Camp Oven Festival is another great spring camping event for families. Take your caravan and some company out to Millmerran and spend a weekend enjoying the Australian outback life - including camp oven cooking, damper throwing competitions and billy-boiling speed testsvii!
Other events to look out for are the Good Food & Wine Show, visiting cities from June to November, and the Victorian Mildura Jazz Food and Wine Festival, which will run for four days in November this year.
And who could forget "The Race that Stops a Nation"? Spring races in Australia are some of the most anticipated social events of the year and while the Melbourne Cup is by far the most famous, spring racing fever takes over country towns and state capitals alike!
Springtime also promises some good fishing in Australia's northern and southern regions. Head to the Northern Territory between October and December, during the "Barra Build-Up", and you could be snaring a prize barramundi in fishing hot spots around Darwin Harbour or on the Daly Riverviii. Prefer the south coast? Tasmania offers some of the best trout fishing in the worldix and with the 2012/2013 trout fishing season having just openedx, you may well find plenty of good catch. And once the ski lifts stop in the Snowy Mountains, it's time to get ready for trout fishing season: the season opens in NSW on the October long weekendxi.
Great country escapes
Wine regions such as the Hunter Valley (NSW), Margaret River (WA) and the Granite Belt (QLD) are ideal for a spring getaway. Throughout the season, visitors can experience a variety of cultural events while enjoying good food and fine wine. The Hunter Valley in NSW will be hosting events such as Festival of Flowers, Opera in the Vineyards, and Jazz in the Vinesxii. Spring in the Margaret River region hosts the annual Augusta Spring Showxiii and the Gourmet Escape, a food and wine festival held at the famous Leeuwin Estate Winery. This year, the festival promises a line up of celebrity chefs, including Heston Blumenthal, Tetsuya Wakuda, Matt Moran, Peter Gilmore, Neil Perry and morexiv. In spring, the Granite Belt is home to the Primavera eventsxv.
Safe driving on country roads
Whatever you've got planned for spring, whether it's just a holiday or visiting a festival, a trip to the city or country can be the perfect getaway. However, driving on roads that you are unfamiliar with can be stressful and it's important to be prepared before heading out on a long drive. Drives along country roads and organising a camping holiday requires preparation and planning.
Ensuring your vehicle is safeguarded from theft, accident or damage is an important part of this preparation process. Car insurance from Allianz can give you financial security in the event of such incidents as well as damage to third party property. For a quote in just 2 minutes, visit the Allianz website today.
i Floriade, 2012, About Floriade 2012, http://www.floriadeaustralia.com/about-floriade
ii Floriade, 2012, Highlights, http://www.floriadeaustralia.com/about-floriade/highlights
iii Floriade NightFest, 2012, About NightFest, http://www.floriadeaustralia.com/nightfest/about-nightfest
iv Government of Western Australia, 2012, Kings Park Festival, http://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/index.php?option=com_eventlist&view=details&id=816&Itemid=370
v Melbourne Festival, 2012, About Us, http://www.melbournefestival.com.au/aboutus
vi Royal Melbourne Show, 2012, Tastes of Victoria Pavilion, http://www.royalshow.com.au/tastes-of-victoria.asp
vii Tourism Queensland, 2012, Things to see and do: Australian Camp Oven Festival, http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au/things-to-see-and-do/australian-camp-oven-festival/index.cfm
viii Tourism Australia, 2012, Fishing in the barra build-up, Northern Territory, http://www.australia.com/explore/things-to-do/australian-adventure/nt-barra-fishing.aspx
ix Discover Tasmania, 2011, Trout Fishing, http://www.discovertasmania.com/activities__and__attractions/outdoor_activities/fishing/trout_fishing
x Inland Fisheries Service, 2012, Opening of the 2012/13 trout season this weekend, http://www.ifs.tas.gov.au/news/opening-of-the-2012-13-trout-season-this-weekend
xi NSW Department of Primary Industries, 2012, Winter trout spawning closure starts 12 June, http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/news/recent-news/fishing-and-aquaculture/trout-spawning-closure-starts-12-june
xii Tourism Australia, 2012, Hunter Valley Spring Events, http://www.australia.com/explore/states/nsw/nsw-spring-hunter-valley.aspx
xiii Margret River Visitor Centre, 2012, Augusta Spring Show, http://www.margaretriver.com/what-to-do/events/173
xiv Margaret River Gourmet Escape, 2012, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, http://www.gourmetescape.com.au/
xv Granite Belt Wine Country, 2012, Primavera 2012, http://www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.au/